Greg Wasserman, the newly appointed director of guidance in the Roslyn School District, originally wanted to be a businessman.
“If you asked me coming out of high school, I was going into business,” Wasserman said.
But in his friendships, he noticed an ability to listen closely and give helpful feedback.
“I was always that friend people turned to for advice,” he said. “Friends would say they have problems and we would all talk about it, and I became the guy who would talk problems through.”
When his first job out of college, a computer consulting position with Price Waterhouse Cooper, fell through after a few months, Wasserman spent weeks on end “watching ‘Law and Order’ and ‘ER’ and going on head hunter interviews,” he said.
“It allowed me to take step back and have an open mind about the fields to go into,” he added.
Soon after, he took a position as the assistant director of admissions at the Cooper Union, and began a career path that led him to the position of director of guidance in the East Williston School District and, eventually, to his new position in the Roslyn School District, which begins on July 1.
Wasserman was born and raised in Commack, where he graduated from Commack High School.
“I was very proud trombone player, beyond that I was your every-student,” he said. “I wouldn’t say I jumped out in any one particular profile.”
Wasserman earned a degree in finance and management information systems at SUNY Albany before his brief tenure at Price Waterhouse Cooper.
His job in admissions recruiting for Cooper Union served as an entree into the field of counseling.
“In a lot of ways kids coming up to me weren’t coming just to get admitted to Cooper [Union], because it was so specialized really what I was doing was directing them,” he said. “They came to me and said, ‘I want to study business and we didn’t have that but why not look at college A, B or C.”
“Organically, I ended up counseling kids,” he added.
He went from Cooper Union to Adelphi University, where he served as associate director of admissions, and from there he became a college counselor at Yeshivah of Flatbush.
“When I was working in college admissions I got to know different high schools, and got to know the director at Yeshivah Flatbush quite well,” Wasserman said. “It’s not uncommon for college admissions people to go to the ‘dark side’ and go to the high school side.”
“Every job that I had offered me a progression in my career,” he added. “The moment I moved to Yeshiva Flatbush, I applied for a counseling degree. I knew that if I was applying to the counseling side, my end goal was moving to a public high school in Long Island.”
Two years later, Wasserman earned a master’s degree in counseling from Alfred University.
After a stint as the associate director of college counseling at Lycée Francais de New York, he received job offers in both Syosset and East Williston to achieve his dream of working as a counselor at a public school in Long Island.
“There was no bad choice,” he said. “For me I chose East Williston because I felt I could accomplish more with the community. The kids were doers, they were thinkers, and I just felt I could support them very well.”
He served as the school counselor at the Wheatley School from 2009 to 2014.
“When you move to a public school as a college counselor you’re handling a billion things that graduate school can’t prepare you for,” he said.
In 2014, Wasserman became the the director of guidance in the East Williston School District. While the title of his position in the Roslyn School District will be the same, Wasserman said it gives him a “bigger stage to affect more students.”
“If this position didn’t exist and wasn’t afforded to me, I would still be happily employed in East Williston,” he said.
Referring to the opportunity in Roslyn, he said, “To me it’s an excitement to be able to affect more lives through programming and support guidance, and on the administrative side to work with a great young central office.”
He said many of the issues that come up in Roslyn are similar to those in East Williston and other parts of Long Island.
“There are so many themes and issues that carry across our districts whether it be addiction in any form: alcohol, drugs, gambling, e-cigarettes,” he said. “These kinds of problems do not have community boundaries.”
“The stress of college applications is not going anywhere,” he added. “The important thing is are the colleges you’re applying to good for you where you will be first happy and successful? The more you know yourself better, the more the college process will work for you.”